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By Kaaryn S. Gustafson

During the last 3 a long time, welfare regulations were proficient via well known ideals that welfare fraud is rampant. for this reason, welfare guidelines became extra punitive and the limits among the welfare procedure and the felony justice method have blurred--so a lot in order that in a few locales prosecution caseloads for welfare fraud exceed welfare caseloads. in fact, a few recipients manage the welfare procedure for his or her personal ends, others are gravely harm through punitive regulations, and nonetheless others fall someplace in between.In dishonest Welfare, Kaaryn S. Gustafson endeavors to resolve those grey parts by means of supplying insights into the background, social development, and lived adventure of welfare. She exhibits why dishonest is all yet inevitable--not simply because negative individuals are immoral, yet simply because traditional participants navigating complicated structures of ideas are inclined to develop into entangled regardless of their top efforts. via an exam of the development of the crime we all know as welfare fraud, which she bases on in-depth interviews with welfare recipients in Northern California, Gustafson demanding situations readers to question their assumptions approximately welfare regulations, welfare recipients, and crime keep an eye on within the usa.

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Extra info for Cheating Welfare: Public Assistance and the Criminalization of Poverty

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Constitution. Two of the most prominent leaders of the welfare rights movement were neither welfare recipients nor lawyers. Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, two professors at the Columbia University School of Social Work, published an article titled “A Strategy to End Poverty” in the Nation in 1966. The article put forth a “crisis theory” to end poverty. Cloward and Piven noted that the political will at the time was to drive the poor from the welfare rolls, not to address the poverty that made AFDC a heavily used program.

At the time she applied for aid, the welfare system 34â•… |â•… Reconstructing Social Ills had not yet been computerized, making it easy for a willful criminal to open multiple cases under different names. Williams, described by the New York Times as the “Queen of Welfare,” was sentenced to eight years in jail (New York Times, December 29, 1978). In coverage of her court case, the New York Times and Washington Post repeatedly noted that Williams drove a Cadillac. It was not by happenstance that welfare fraud cases involving double-dipping were discovered in the late 1970s, as it was then that the AFDC system was computerized, making it easier for welfare officials to identify and document cases of fraud.

The sheer volume of applications was overwhelming the already overburdened social workers in welfare offices. Social workers in large cities were supposed to conduct home visits, but the number of cases each one had to handle prevented the workers from making visits and handling all of the paperwork. Welfare system insiders resisted welfare rights activism by reformulating policies. The first things to go were special needs grants. In September 1968, the New York State Board of Social Welfare ended its special needs grants in favor of a flat grant based on family size with a quarterly supplementation of twenty-five dollars to cover clothing and school-related expenses (Piven and Cloward [1977] 1979, 305).

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